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The penalties for drug possession in Oklahoma

Possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is illegal in Oklahoma. You already knew that. What you might not know is that the law treats possession of different drugs differently. The exact substance the police claim they caught you with can affect whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony — and whether you might face prison time.

Five drug schedules

Like most states, Oklahoma divides CDSes into classes, known as “schedules.” The list of drugs included in each schedule is long, but here are a few common examples:

  • Schedule I: Heroin and psychedelic drugs like LSD, mushrooms, mescaline and peyote.
  • Schedule II: Cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs like oxycodone, Percocet, Adderall and Ritalin
  • Schedule III: Steroids and barbituates
  • Schedule IV: Psychiatric drugs like Xanax and Ambien
  • Schedule V: Cough syrup containing codeine and diarrhea drug Lomotil

Marijuana is technically a Schedule I CDS, but marijuana possession is treated as a lesser crime. Obviously, some of the substances listed above are medications that are legal to use with a doctor’s prescription.

The punishments under Oklahoma law

Possession of any other Schedule I drug or a Schedule II drug is punishable by two to ten years in prison for a first offense. For a Schedule III, IV or V CDS, the punishment is no more than one year in jail, though a second offense while on probation or within ten years of the first offense triggers a prison sentence of two to ten years.

All is not lost after a drug arrest

Drug possession is a serious crime in Oklahoma, even in quantities too small for trafficking purposes. However, anyone arrested on possession charges is innocent until proven guilty. There may be problems in the prosecution’s case that can be exploited to get the charges dropped.


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